- 40 degree bath can mimic benefits of sauna and exercise
- Passive heating can improve cardiovascular health, decrease blood sugar, relieve muscle soreness and burn calories.
Recover At Home
Many of us love nothing more than to soak in a hot bath to unwind after a stressful or tiring day. But only recently has science begun to understand how passive heating (as opposed to getting hot and sweaty from exercise) improves health. Similar to sitting in a sauna, soaking in a hot bath can have multiple benefits to our health and even mimic the effects of exercise.
We know from studies that men who went for a sauna only once a week had a higher risk of mortality compared to those who went two to three times a week. The more saunas the men had, the less likely it seemed they were to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.
But what if you can't access a sauna now, can having a hot bath do the trick? Well the answer is yes.
The act of passively heating the body is what is shown to give the much studied cardiovascular benefits of which include lowered blood pressure and an increase in nitric oxide availability. Experiments have been done where individuals sat in a hot bath (40c) for 1 hour and had their body temperature and blood monitored. After the hour, their body temperature had only risen 1 degree but interestingly blood sugar levels were decreased and heat shock proteins increased significantly. When compared with exercise it showed that hot baths could have the similar effect of cycling for 1 hr.
As well as the cardiovascular effects of passive heating, there is evidence to suggest that there may be beneficial metabolic effects as well – such as better control of blood sugar. A study in Colorado investigated the effect of three weeks of hot-tub therapy in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The results showed improvements in body weight, blood sugar control and a reduced dependence on insulin.
Although the heating achieved in a sauna is far greater, and the same benefits can be accomplished in a shorter time, running a bath may be the perfect quick fix solution when a sauna cannot be sourced. Bathing in hot water for its health benefits has been practiced for millenia, with the oldest recorded use of hot springs being in Japan some 3000 years ago! So why not partake in this ancient tradition and grab a riveting novel, light some scented candles, pour in some epsom salts and run yourself a hot bath.
That is, until our doors re-open 🙂